Mexican business representatives on Wednesday invited southern U.S. companies, including those in Louisiana’s oil and gas sector, to check out reforms the country has made to its energy and other sectors.
“We have enacted significant structural changes in Mexico,” said Edmundo Gonzáles Herrera, who is head of the Houston office of the country’s trade and investment recruiter ProMexico.
Reforms have been made to former monopolies that include state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex, and The Federal Electricity Commission, the government-owned electric utility.
He was among presenters at the two-day Mexico Trade Mission to Gulf States symposium, being held in the LITE center in Lafayette.
Some government representatives from the Mexican state of Tabasco were unable to attend the first day because flooding in Houston halted flights. They’re expected Thursday for a visit to the hospitality suite at Festival International de Louisiane.
The ProMexico representative said the constitutional reforms to the country’s monopolies, enacted by Mexico’s Congress and President Enrique Peña Nieto, have opened investment in all sectors. For example, automobile companies Audi and BMW have opened manufacturing plants that will export vehicles internationally, and AT&T is planning to invest $3 billion in telecommunications.
He also said international oil companies are dipping their toes into Mexico’s shallow offshore waters for oil exploration, which only a few years ago was the sole province of Pemex. The exploration companies that won bids to drill include Talos Energy from the U.S. and Italian firm ENI. In December, the government will go out for bids to drill in the deeper Gulf of Mexico waters.
The news was at least encouraging, said Ben Broussard, director of marketing and membership development at the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.
“Louisiana’s oilfield service companies are looking for every opportunity to survive in a tough global energy climate,” Broussard said. “Hearing about Mexican energy reforms and the new opportunities now available to the private sector is extremely encouraging, especially taking into account the close proximity between Louisiana and Mexico’s energy-producing states.”
Nick Perez, who works for Lafayette work wear company Abform, said the 35-year-old firm is looking for more business than its traditional No. 1 sector, energy, can give it right now.
“We’re struggling like everyone else,” he said. “Oil and gas is part of our business. Thank God we diversified.”